Author Topic: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB  (Read 4775 times)

Masse24

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2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« on: December 22, 2019, 03:10:24 AM »
FEBRUARY 2020 MSC

Deadline: January 10 at 9:00 a.m. (ET)

Submit your February responses here: The Bridge World - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB

BWS 2017 System: BWS 2017
BWS 2017 POLLS, CHANGES AND ADDITIONS: BWS 2017 - Polls, Changes, and Additions
  • Bridge World Standard 2017 (BWS or BWS2017) is effective beginning with the January 2017 Master Solvers' Club problems. This page shows (1) the results of the panelist polls that were used to adjust the system; and (2) the changes in and the additions to Bridge World Standard 2001 (BWS2001) that were made.
    In the listings of the questions and answers, an asterisk indicates the BWS2001 agreement; the proportion of the expert votes for each item, rounded to the nearest percent, is shown in brackets.


IAC Forum MSC Scores


*     *     *


PROBLEM A: IMPs
North-South Vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S AKJ973 !H!D 972 !C AKT8

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
   1 !S  Pass   1NT  2 !D
  ??*
*BWS: Double = Takeout
What call do you make?


PROBLEM B: IMPs
East-West Vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S AK5 !H 2 !D AK9642 !C A43

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
  1 !D  Pass 1 !HPass
??
 

What call do you make?


PROBLEM C: IMPs
Both sides vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S 2 !H AQ42 !D AKJ !C Q7532

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
??

Which of these plans do you prefer?
(a) 1 !C - (Pass) - 1 !S - (Pass) -?
(a1) 1 NT (a2) 2 !D (a3) 2 !H (a4) 2 NT
(b) 1 !D (c) 1 !H (d) 1 NT


PROBLEM D: Matchpoints
Both Sides Vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S!H AQT5 !D J873 !C AQJ63

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
1 !H
??

What call do you make?


PROBLEM E: Matchpoints
Neither side Vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S J !H AT754 !D 642 !C A963

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
1 !S Pass
1NT Pass 2 !D Pass
??

What call do you make?


PROBLEM F:Matchpoints
East-West Vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S Aj83 !H 53 !D Q63 !C A932

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
   — 1 !D Pass 1 !H
Pass 1 !S Dbl* Pass
??

*BWS: Strong hand – length in diamonds
What call do you make?


PROBLEM G: IMPs
Neither Side Vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S AKJ5 !H 9 !D Q8 !C AKT843

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
  —  1 !S Pass1NT
2 !C  2 !H Pass Pass
??

What call do you make?


PROBLEM H: IMPs
East-West vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S T54 !H Q987 !D T76 !C J73

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
   —  —  — 1 !D
Pass 1 !S Pass 2NT
Pass 6NT All Pass

What is your opening lead?


Good luck everyone!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 02:19:29 AM by Masse24 »
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

Masse24

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2019, 07:07:13 PM »
I'll get the ball rolling with a problem that to me is a no-brainer. [Added] Upon further review, I shouldn't call it a no-brainer. There are several bad choices--and no good ones.

PROBLEM C:

I choose (a3) which is to open 1 !C and reverse to 2 !H . As distasteful as the !C suit is for a hand I intend to reverse with, the other choices do not appeal to me. Generally, for marginal reverses, I prefer that my strength be in my long suits, which is a better description of the hand. So this is a mild distortion (one lie). However, it's a good description of my general strength, it conveys my shape accurately, and gives us the best chance of finding the right strain. 

My second choice would be to open 1 !C and rebid 2NT (two lies).


[Added] It's IMPs and we're vulnerable. That alone suggests aggression, so 1 !C - 1 !S - 1NT (showing 12-14) would be criminal.

What about 1 !C - 1 !S - 2 !D ? It's still a reverse. Why manufacture a reverse into a three card suit (sometimes necessary) when there is a perfectly good four card suit? I do not understand this as a possible answer.

The reverse to 2 !H ? Discussed above. Currently the runaway winner of those who have submitted--and for good reason.

What about 1 !C - 1 !S - 2NT? Initially my second choice. Still is. But I am taking a much closer look at this. It obviously falls outside the shape requirements because of the stiff. But the range is very close. The KnR for this hand is 17.05, so it's close to the 18 a 2NT rebid promises. This one is looking more and more attractive to me:
     1) I know spades are covered, or at least hope they are.
     2) The point range is close. Very close.
     3) The club suit looks more no-trumpy once partner responded with one spade.
     4) Half my strength is in a short suit, which is code for "bid notrump."

Opening 1 !D ? Why? What's the point? I don't get this one either.

Open 1 !H? Not for me, but this one actually has merit. Maybe in third seat, but not first.

Finally, what about opening 1NT? Okay, it's in range, 15-17. But a stiff 2? Nope.

Still one day to decide. But I am teetering on the edge on this one. It's close


Happy New Year!
« Last Edit: January 09, 2020, 12:54:00 AM by Masse24 »
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

blubayou

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2019, 04:05:39 PM »
Firstly,   "AMEN"  to Masse24's  every thought on problem C.
Secondly,  it seems that a LOT of my simple-minded first thoughts will probably be my final answer!     Like all 7 of the bidding problems!  This has never happened.
   A:>>    2 spades.    not stretching to jump with diamond xxx.
   B:>>    3!D     In 1980  I inherited a giant stack of Bridge Worlds,  and soon noticed this version of their Death Hand  coming up every other month or so.  I got my 3 regular pards to agree  that 2!S rebid showed THIS HAND  more or less [ie: strength in spades in a jump-rebid hand].   and we seldom regretted it.  But  we cant bid that in the MSC can we.
   C:>>   (a3)   see masse's above
   D:>>   pass   This hand GOES WITH  problem F ,  doesn't it
    E:>>     2NT       good nine pretending to be eleven.
    F:>>     2!S       note informs us that pard may very well have hand D,  so I have no excuse to dog it now,  and no need to GUESS which major he is lame in,either.
   G:>>    double
   H:>>      4th-down heart.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 04:11:46 AM by blubayou »
often it is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission

jcreech

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2019, 01:57:01 AM »
Initial thoughts:

Problem A:  3 !C  This is a really nice 6-4 which includes 15 HCPs and a void.  The only problem is the void is not in the opponent’s suit.  Other possibilities for me include 2 !S, 3 b!S and pass (to see what partner might have to say.  Of those, pass scares me the most because I think we still need to compete on this hand.

Problem B:  3 !D  I hate this sort of holding, do not want to rebid 2NT with a stiff in partner’s suit, afraid that we are missing a laydown 3NT if I rebid 3 !D and it goes floating away because partner did not have the spades covered and did not have enough heart length to rebid.  Particularly with aces and kings, I feel this is too rich for a 3 !D, but not anxious to jump shift into a 3-card suit.  I feel stuck.

Problem C:  a(3)  It almost feels like a 4-4-4-1 hand because the diamonds are so beefy and the clubs so anemic.  Still, length is length, and I almost have the points to justify, so I will not distort my shape.

Problem D:  2 !C Can’t double, don’t want to treat this as a trap pass, and too strong to ignore.

Problem E:  Pass  Another MSC hand I hate.  I am torn between pass, 2NT and 2 !H.  All are flawed.    At least with diamonds no one has doubled for penalty yet.  I am hoping for a 4-3/5-3 fit; there may be something better, but there is risk attached.  When I smell a misfit, I try to escape early.

Problem F:  2NT  Although the vulnerability is right, the level is not for passing a penalty double.  I suspect that there may be a cross ruff for 7-8 tricks.  I’m not sure what BWS considers to be “a strong hand” on this auction, so I will just invite.  I think partner is short in spades, and has something undisclosed in hearts, so I think we are safe in 2NT and have potential to be making 3NT.

Problem G:  Dbl  Another bid I am not happy with, but I do have the requisite !H shortness.  If partner does not have a penalty pass, perhaps there will be a cue bid and I will show my spade stop, or enough diamonds that I will not be displeased that I passed.  Double is more flexible than rebidding my clubs, or cue bidding hearts; let’s bring partner into the discussion.

Problem H:  !H 7  I don’t like any of my options all that well.  Should I try my long suit, or try to figure out which shorter suit will hit gold?  I hate leading my long suit without some promise of a later entry, but this time there are multiple cards that might pan out as being useful in partner’s hand.

Some of these I feel more certain of than others to make my ballot before the 10th. 
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

Masse24

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2020, 09:41:55 PM »
FEBRUARY GUESSES:


PROBLEM A: 3 !C . Too much to pass and wait. I prefer 3 !C because it communicates that I have extras, shows nine of my cards rather than the six a spade rebid accomplishes, and denies four hearts. A pretty fair description of my hand.

PROBLEM B: 1 !S . This hand is big. Far too strong to make a non-forcing 3 !D rebid, where I may languish should partner choose to pass. The only forcing rebid, 3 !C , feels wrong with only three cards. With a long, strong major to retreat to I would feel more comfortable with a “fake-suit” jump-shift. Not here. So I am left with an esoteric but temporizing 1 !S . It has a huge problem; it’s not forcing! I see this as a transfer of sorts, delaying the pain of a decision until next round of bidding. I hope there is a next round of bidding.

PROBLEM C: (a3) 1 !C | 2 !H . As distasteful as the !C suit is for a hand I intend to reverse with, the other choices do not appeal to me. Generally, for marginal reverses, I prefer that my strength be in my long suits, which is a better description of the hand. So this is a mild distortion (one lie). However, it's a good description of my general strength, it conveys my shape accurately, and gives us the best chance of finding the right strain.

My second choice would be to open 1 !C and rebid 2NT (two lies).

PROBLEM D: 2 !C . Bid what I have. Not treating this as a two-suiter. With a !S void the auction is not over, so I should get another opportunity to introduce my !H suit, if appropriate.

PROBLEM E: 2 !H . Yes, I’m short a heart. I’m open to suggestions.

Second choice is Pass (yuck!).

PROBLEM F: 2NT. Really just a guess. East has few values and is short in diamonds. Partner and East have a minimum of eight hearts between them, maybe more, so partner hopefully has hearts stopped.

[Added] Because opener must have at least four diamonds (he did not support responder), East probably has at most a stiff diamond. East probably also has almost no values. Maybe 5 HCP or so? Something like !S xxx !H KQxxx !D x !C xxxx ? Do we have game?

I think Pass will be a popular solver choice as well as a viable choice for the BWS panel. But I think I stick with my 2NT.


Hardest of the set so far. This one may change . . .

PROBLEM G: 3 !C . Partner has very little, only a few HCP. For this reason a double, while seemingly flexible, is not on my radar. I’ll bid what I have, more clubs.

Second choice (I think it’s close) is pass.

PROBLEM H: !S T. [Added] See my comments downthread. I'm now set on a spade lead. I like the ten best. Small (the 4) is also okay. But I like the ten.

Second choice: !H 7. No particular reason. This looks quite normal, standard, and boring.

Second Third choice is the !C J.


Still some time before I must commit. I feel good enough about most of these to just go with it, but a couple (like the lead problem) are a complete guess and I may change my mind.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2020, 03:27:14 PM by Masse24 »
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

hoki

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2020, 11:16:57 AM »
FEBRUARY GUESSES:
Yes - "guess" is the right word and I could easily be swayed to changing any of my guesses. There is hardly a single problem that can be solved by referring to the books.

PROBLEM A: 3 !C  because it communicates .. extras, shows nine of my cards ..
If partner's values are in hearts I'm happy to stop at the two level. It's only a 15-count and if partner has only six there is no guarantee that we're going to be safe at the three level.

PROBLEM B: 1 !S .
My choice of 3 allows us to bow out if partner responded on a subminimum hand and five hearts, in which case we could be playing 1♠ on a 3-3 fit.

PROBLEM C: (a3) 1 !C | 2 !H .
Me too - but I might have been tempted by an option that was not even available, namely rebidding 2♣.

PROBLEM D: 2 !C .
Agree.

PROBLEM E: 2 !H . Yes, I’m short a heart. I’m open to suggestions.
Agree.

PROBLEM F: 2NT. Really just a guess. East has few values and is short in diamonds. Partner and East have a minimum of eight hearts between them, maybe more, so partner hopefully has hearts stopped.
1NT - but same reasoning.

PROBLEM G: 3 !C .
Agree - except that I don't think it's that close.

PROBLEM H: !H 7. No particular reason. This looks quite normal, standard, and boring.
All good reasons for not choosing a heart. I hate lead problems, especially at IMPs because
huge swings could result from an unlucky choice. I'm too scared to admit what my answer is
but am willing to gloat later if it turns out to be the winner.
  :D

jcreech

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2020, 03:48:19 PM »
Thank you Hoki for sharing your thoughts.

I was disappointed with your response to Problem H.

All good reasons for not choosing a heart. I hate lead problems, especially at IMPs because
huge swings could result from an unlucky choice. I'm too scared to admit what my answer is
but am willing to gloat later if it turns out to be the winner.
  :D

I really would like to know what your choice is, and why you would make that selection.  I am with both you and Todd that the !H 7 is "normal, standard and boring," but am at a loss for a better choice.  Even if I disagree with your choice and reasoning, it may help me re-evaluate other possibilities.  Please reconsider your decision to not share this one time.
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

kenberg

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2020, 05:24:47 PM »
I have been busy and just opened the Jan BW today. I will get moving on it. But I did note the above discussion about H.

I think that a small heart is anything but boring. I don't know if a heart lead is right or not but often the recommended lead against 6NT is a passive lead. Against a small slam in a suit active, against 6NT passive.

I suppose the hands are pretty flat. Dummy will hit with four or maybe five spades, but at most three hearts: If dummy had four hearts then, if he had five spades he probably would have checked back. With a flat 15 count and five spades and three hearts he might, emphasis on might, just bid 6NT w/o checking back. With 5-4 I expect him  to check back.  With 4-4  I assume his first bid would be 1H. So it is impossible that dummy will hit with four hearts. If the hearts are AJx opposite Kxx this heart lead will not be good. It's true that if the AJx are in the dummy then he can take the finesse anyway, but still I have given him one less ting to worry about, and if the AJx are in his hand he will kiss me.

A reasonable guess is that there are 18 points on my right,15 on my left.  Could be a little more, and maybe someone is an optimist and it is a little less. But pard seems to have about four points. Even if he has the heart K it is not so clear that I have done a good thing with this heart lead. Maybe my 9 will then be of use, maybe not.

And yes, I could lead the !H 9. If the T is on the dummy and pard has the J, that will be nice. But usually this ill not work well, I think.

Often we must decide on active or passive.  Often passive is recommended against 6NT. Is this an exception? Maybe. Also maybe not.

I generally find lead problems very difficult. This is true here. Leading a club might give away nothing. Maybe pard has T9xx. Maybe T8xx suffices.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 05:35:16 PM by kenberg »
Ken

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2020, 06:23:34 PM »
Here we go again .. I almost didn't submit these publicly when I read everyone else's thoughts  (which is why I send in my answers before reading the comments)

PROBLEM A: 4 Spades  - Just feels right.
PROBLEM B: 2 Notrump  - I'll take a chance and show my strength.
PROBLEM C: (a3)  - Partner could still have 4 hearts, and 1NT understates my hand, 2NT overstates ..
PROBLEM D: 2 Notrump - I know I only have 4 hearts, but if I bid Clubs and partner comes back with spades - I'm stuck.  My hearts are good, so I'll risk it.
PROBLEM E: 2 Hearts - Partner could only have 3D, so it's better to risk a 5/2 fit in hearts.
PROBLEM F: 3 Clubs - Only bid I have.
PROBLEM G: Pass - This looks like a hand where I've gotten in trouble in the past by rebidding my clubs, only to find that partner has 1 club no points, and one opp has 5 clubs.
PROBLEM H: Heart 7

Masse24

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2020, 09:13:47 PM »
PROBLEM H: IMPs
East-West vulnerable
You, South, hold:
!S T54 !H Q987 !D T76 !C J73

SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
   —  —  — 1 !D
Pass 1 !S Pass 2NT
Pass 6NT All Pass

What is your opening lead?


I can easily imagine a spade lead being the panel's choice. No Checkback Stayman, the length (strength, too?) on my left. Partner has a minimum of three spades, maybe more. If a spade, so as not to confuse partner's count, the ten would be my choice.

This is a strong possibility!
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

kenberg

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2020, 02:25:17 AM »
I am not fond of any spade lead. It's fairly likely declarer will want to develop tricks in spades and my leading them might help him do it. I haven't constructed a layout, but it should not be too difficult to arrange the cards so that he can develop only three tricks on his own but he can get four if I lead them.

I am getting more inclined to a heart. What I would like is to find a suit in which declarer is 3-3, hoping that he already has three tricks and so I am not giving anything away.  Declarer has opened 1 !D and then rebid 2NT. He could have four hearts, he could have four clubs, either one of these to go with his four diamonds. Of course he could have five diamonds, but I am not going to dwell on that.
 I am thinking that if declarer has four hearts my lead might still not cost a trick because of my 9. Say pard has the J, and declarer has the T.
Still, it could get tricky.  Give dummy ATx and declarer Kyz. So pard has Juv.  I lead the 7,  declarer plays x from dummy, I had better hope partner can manage to play u or v rather than J, else declarer gets three tricks where he should have gotten only two.

This seems to me to be a hand where 12 tricks might not be obvious to declarer and we very much want to not help him.
Ken

jcreech

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2020, 01:16:34 PM »
Based on Ken's argument, I am looking for a 3-3 fit with sure winners:

1. the heart is out because of the queen,
2. the spade is out because lefty has four, and
3. a diamond should be out because in BWS,  there is a tendency (Walsh style) to open diamonds with four except if holding specifically 4-4-3-2.

So that leaves a club as my best opportunity of finding a 3-3.  If I truly hit the magical 3-3 with sure tricks, then it doesn't matter which club I lead, but if it does, my spots are such that J may be a better choice than small.

Now all I have to do is decide whether I agree with Ken's argument.

A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

kenberg

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2020, 02:29:51 PM »
Yes, and I also have to decide if I agree with my argument!

One  thought. We lead fourth best against 3NT with the idea that repeated leads of that suit might establish the fourth card as a winner. Against 6NT we are rarely planning on establishing the fourth best card. It follows that we might adjust lead conventions.

That thinking could apply in the heart suit. If I am going to lead a heart there is something to be said for the 9 instead of the 7. The main argument against the 9 is that partner, if he takes it as a standard lead, will never imaging that I have the Q. No doubt there have been discussions in the literature about such matters, but I have not seen it.

Here is how I am thinking: Suppose I lead the 7, dummy comes down with AT5, partner holds I63. Switch around the spots however you like, they don't matter. Declarer calls for the 6 from dummy. What is partner to think? He will perhaps feel he cannot play small and let declarer hypothetically win with the 9, when I have led from KQ87. Of course if he is holding a four count he might, if he sees a 15 count in dummy and figures declarer for an 18 count, realize I cannot have a 5 count. Or he might, very reasonably I think, decide that I would not be leading small from KQ87 with anb advertised 18 count on my right. It's true, I probably would not.  So maybe he will get it right and just play small.

I have a couple of books on leads. I might take a look and see if they have anything to say about modification of standard leads against 6NT contracts.   It seem worthy of thought.

These MSC problems are fun. In a weird way.
Ken

Masse24

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2020, 03:18:18 PM »

These MSC problems are fun. In a weird way.

You're a sick man, Ken Berg! LOL  ;D
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

jcreech

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Re: 2020 February - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2020, 06:09:44 PM »
I think the sickness may have come from Uncle Willie Wilson,  Marge was just too nice.

And I have also been struggling with the 9 vs 7 lead if I go with hearts.  When I made my initial guesses, I believe I went with the 7 because it would likely be easier to interpret it as a 4th best lead, than the 9 being the top of an interior sequence.  The 10 would have been so much easier to think interior sequence than the 9.

What it comes down to is - I think I need a peek at the opps hands for this one.  However, I have seen enough double dummy would you rather defend or declare hands to know that this could actually be one of those too - lol.
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran